San Francisco’s rental goats munch their way to social media stardom

Also: Doggie bakeries, Meta name change and back to work resistance

If you need a reason to like social media after a week of Facebook whistleblowing, Meta name-changing and typical Twitter drama, City Grazing may be the goat-rental nonprofit you never knew you needed.

And you didn’t know because the Bayview herd that gobbles up fire-hazard overgrowth was somewhat under the radar until COVID-19 social media made it a star. Fantastic posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, reddit and TikTok have won the hearts of a fan base that tracks the goats’ rental grazing gigs around The City — by the Laurel Heights Muni bus yard, at USF, the Presidio. The 92 goats of City Grazing get around. And their fans visit them.

There’s Richie and his pals who are go-getters; Virgil, an old-timer with two teeth; Vexx, a drama queen; Charmer, who doesn’t work too hard; and Mango and Kumquat, the pygmy twins who don’t work at all. (The nonprofit had to make a personnel call there, and decided to keep the twins as mascots, despite their tendency to jump over fences just for the heck of it.)

The seven humans involved in the nonprofit are led by executive director Genevieve Church, who says “COVID gave us a huge boost and loyal social media fan base. People have needed some joy and you can see where they are that day and just bomb over, and see them.”

And people love them. On an Instagram post with 225 likes, one 20-year San Francisco resident commented that seeing the goats in her neighborhood will be in her “top five favorite city memories.”

Really, what’s not to love? The Bayview nonprofit’s goats — some were rescued, others retired from the dairy industry — chow down on overgrown weeds and shrubs that could be a fire danger in small green spaces. They graze back yards, college campuses, city land and make visits to companies.

The social media is handled by volunteer and board member Raquel Sbragia Stoner, who posts videos of the goats at work (grazing) and play (sliding down hills) daily. “I love everything about them, even their goaty smell,” she told me.

If you like what you see on the social media, you can volunteer to help socialize young goats by petting them and playing with them — if you don’t mind some hard work and getting dirty.

City Grazing, a goat-rental nonprofit in Bay View, has made its four-legged staff social media stars. (Courtesy City Grazing)

City Grazing, a goat-rental nonprofit in Bay View, has made its four-legged staff social media stars. (Courtesy City Grazing)

One thing: If you follow the goats on social media and visit them in real life, don’t feed them. Goats, despite the popular myth, have sensitive stomachs. And these goats, which have grazed back 75 acres around The City this year, get paid to eat.…

Speaking of eating, animals and social media: There is healthy online competition among three of The City’s dog bakeries on Yelp. Mishka Dog Boutique in Cow Hollow gets a five-star rating with 220 reviews. Paw Patch Pastries & Pet Boutique in Dogpatch (of course) also gets five stars from 129 reviews. And Le Marcel Bakery For Dogs, also in Cow Hollow, gets four stars on 141 reviews. You know what they say: San Francisco has more dogs than children. Apparently fur babies need birthday cakes, too…

Well, this is meta, considering Facebook changed the name of its parent company to Meta on Thursday. Two years ago, Facebook vowed that it would never change its name. “We had to consider all options but decided that it was important to keep the company name. We always have been and will continue to be Facebook. It was important to retain the company’s name in order to own what we stand for, the decisions we make, our responsibility to people, and how our brands relate to each other,” Facebook’s then-CMO Antonio Lucio told TechCrunch’s Josh Constine in November 2019. Well, that didn’t age well.

just watch, the facebook name change is going to be something like meta or some bs

— jorge (@LineGoesDown) October 20, 2021

But here’s something that did age well: A software engineer named Jorge (hard to see much else about him) tweeted a week before Facebook’s name change that “just watch, the facebook name change is going to be something like meta or some bs,” leading to a mountain of love on Twitter for his prophecy…

You may discover that you now follow @Meta on Twitter. Some 13.5 million do. Ahh, they did the old switcheroo, changing the name but keeping the followers. @Facebook is now a protected account you have to ask to follow. Just 6,551 Followers. On Facebook, the @Facebook account redirects to a @Meta account with 49.7 million followers…

Nearly a third (32%) of San Francisco workers still don’t come into the office at all, new data from the Bay Area Council shows. “The hybrid model hasn’t really taken off,” in San Francisco, Gwen Litvak of the business association told me. A quarter of San Francisco workers come in five days a week, according to key fob swipes at more than 100 employers. In Houston — where some companies from The City are relocating — that number is 50%. And even in San Jose (27%) and L.A. (33%) more folks are going in. Litvak’s theory on why we are so stodgy about getting off the couch and coming in? “We have bad traffic. People aren’t looking forward to sitting in traffic again.” She has a point…

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